Let’s not be cowed into submission by terror groups

Saturday April 11 2015

Politicians be naive. A case in point is that of Kenyan politicians calling for the withdrawal of Kenya Defence Forces from Somalia. They were responding to the massacre of at least 148 people by Al Shabaab at Garissa University College.

Whereas the outraged world is calling for action to secure the country and the region, these politicians are calling for cutting down of the KDF budget by 50 per cent.

These politicians appear oblivious to the threat of Somalia-based militants who are spilling over into the region and forming sleeper cells after being ejected from their stronghold.

Indeed, security reports point out that militants have divided themselves into three groups to carry out attacks in Mogadishu and other regions in Somalia as well as the East African region.
That is why the March 31 attack at Garissa is an indication that the group tasked with attacking countries in the region is now active.

According to experts, the more the Al Shabaab lose territory the more the insurgents pull off high profile attacks on civilians. This is meant to be a show of might and a cry for recognition among global terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

It is also believed that the presence of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is another reason for the attack. The more their leaders are killed by the combination of Amisom, the Somali National Army and US drone attacks, the more lethal they become in their attacks.

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Thus, as the presence of Al Shabaab continues shrinking in Somalia, the group’s numbers continues rising in the neighbouring countries, especially Kenya, where they have fled, lying in wait to attack.

In a nutshell, politicians have no idea what is happening in this region and would like us to succumb to threats and intimidation by terrorists. This cannot happen.

The only way to deal with such cowardly acts of terror is toinvest more in security forces and intelligence gathering.

Governments should also invest more in community policing such as “Nyumba Kumi” initiative taking into consideration that militants who are lying in wait to attack are living among some Kenyan families.

Kimani Njuguna
Gatundu South, Kenya

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Westgate, now Garissa: Look for the enemy within

The way the Garissa attacks, like Westgate, were carried out, shows deep knowledge and systematic intelligence gathering and execution by criminals.

This kind of attacks cannot happen without internal help of some people residing within the Kenyan borders.

It is not mere happenstance. Kenya has had its share of social and economic problems and the endemic culture of corruption. These problems have bequeathed us able-bodied people who spend their days with little or nothing to do.

Such people are easily and recklessly lured into criminal activities. Terror groups like Al Shabaab know this very well and make use of such opportunities to sow the seeds of radicalism.

The result? Home-grown terrorists. Thus, a holistic approach that addresses not only state control of the governance apparatus but the soft power of social economic matters is sorely needed.

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
Nairobi

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